Question about Coleman Powermate Premium Plus 6250W Portable Generator
Marine generator power source... westerbeke 5kw, gas, was running well... began to slow start, when in a pinch i did short the starter to get started, no obvious cause/effect to this however the last time I started it, I noticed some smoke and shut it down quickly... one dockside mechanic said it was a coil short , yet claimed this as the issue with little diagnosis or once over examination... then when given a quote for this fix... ouch!, my passing alarm of the snap determination suddenly became more uncertain as to its truth or accuracy. How can generator symtoms be read... issue be troubleshot? Apart from a starter and a new zinc or two, up to that day, was all I assumed it needed sooner rather than later? anyone? any ideas>
Your dockside mechanic is likely correct. The field coils have likely shorted. And yes, they can be WAY expensive to replace. The snap decision was likely based on what you told him at the time the smoke started and lack of anything else that was burned (or you would have said something about it). It is also fairly common for starters on these monsters (westerbe, kohler, onan, etc) to fail due to the harsh environments they are installed in. I have yet to work in a bilge are that didn't have at least an oil mark 12inches up the bulkhead....
But, if you are able to get at the starter yourself, there might be an easier way out.
Pull the starter out, and take it to local starter / alternator rebuild shop. See what they are able to do with it. It might cost you few dollars for them to take a look at it to see if they are even able to rebuild it, but I would think that it would be worth the gamble. Try it and see what happens. If the starter is fine, it would be a good time to have the commutators cleaned up and brushes replaced. Do the bearings too, just because you can.
Oh, and if all you have replaced is just anodes, then you are headed for another disaster. You should be checking and replacing the impellers as well, about every couple years, give or take depending on waters that you frequent.
I always recommend to my clients that they carry a consumable spares kits (oil, filters, limit switches, impellers, fuses, etc). I hope you have one too.
Posted on Sep 15, 2009
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
Tips for a great answer:
Oct 10, 2014 | Briggs & Stratton Gas Powered 3500-4375...
This Tip will cover the Field
The alternator of the generator is similar to the alternator in your vehicle. A current flows through the field winding, and creates a magnetic field. This magnetic field is rotated (by the engine), and the magnetic lines of force cut through the many coils of wire that are located in the stator.
First things first though. Lets see if the field winding (aka rotor) is any good. You will first have to disassemble the generator / alternator to get to the brushes. The brushes are how the current flows from the regulator, and into the rotor while it is spinning. Look closely, and you will see 2 rings on the rotor. Each ring is the end of the coil of wire that makes up the rotor. Using a multimeter, check for resistance between the rings, but make sure that you don't scratch or gouge them. You should have some kind of continuity here, compare your readings against what is published in the service manual. Also check each ring to the core or rod of the rotor as well. There should NOT be any continuity at all. If there is, this indicates a grounded rotor, and will have to be rewound (starter / alternator shop) or replaced.
Look at the brushes and brush holder assembly. Take a measurement of the length of each brush, and compare it to the minimum length in the service manual. If the brush is too short, or shows signs of overheating, shock, or otherwise, replace the brushes. If the brush holder is also darkened or burnt, it will also need to be replaces as well.
From the brush holder, follow the wires to the voltage regulator. In most low end generators, this is merely a capacitor that samples output voltage, and feeds it back into the rotor. There should also be a diode here as well. Again, using your multimeter, check the diode to see if it is open or shorted. If your meter has a diode check function, use it. Otherwise, check the diode using the resistance scale. You should have a resistance in direction, and infinite (open) in the other. If you have resistance in both directions, or infinite in both directions, then the diode is bad and will need to be replaced. Some meters will have a capacitor check, but the capacitor in the generator will likely be too large for this to work. Look for signs that the capacitor may be bad. Bulging, leaking, damaged terminals all indicate replacement is needed.
On generators that have an actual voltage regulator, you will need to consult the service manual for steps to check the regulator. Usually, regulators are not easily tested, and are replaced when other potential problems have been ruled out.
If a generator has sat for a long time, it may have lost its residual magnetism. When the engine is not turning, there remains a small magnetic field due to the properties of the iron / steel rotor core. It is possible that this field has dissipated over time. You can temporarily reestablish this field through a process called "Flashing." Basically, it involves connecting a lantern-type of battery between one of the brushes, and the core of the rotor. Consult your owners manual for the exact and recommended procedure.
If the field winding is testing good, its time to move onto the next tip:
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